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Knitting Machines? Answered

I'm trying to knit a sweater-vest that has a two color repeating design. I'd like to use a knitting machine because I am trying to recreate a sweater-vest from a movie, and it looks like using a knitting machine is the best way to go.

I know next to nothing about knitting machines, but I've seen them on eBay and Craigslist for pretty cheap (Like, less than $50.) but I have no idea what I need. 

What's a good, cheap, knitting machine? Also, what's the deal with punch cards? I don't really know what they're for. Can someone explain this all to me?

Thanks so much, I can't wait to see what responses I get. You guys are awesome.


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A knitting machine is not a cheap thing. For less than $50 it will probably lack something or you'll to repair it.

You can also have more information on this website:

I can't tell you more because, I'm in France and I don't know if you'll find the same machines than here. But I paid mine €375, which is very cheap for a new machine, and I can't add punch card and other things like that.

I agree with Ysabeau a knitting machine is not a cheap thing to buy,
I got my first knitting machine when I was 14 years old for christmas it cost my folks over 500 dollars.
Punch cards are used to created different pattern effects using one, two or more colors of wool.
In your case you will need to get a knitting machine that has the punch card attachment seeing that you would like to make a two color repeating design
Remember a punch card machine is excellent as you can buy blank cards as well as a special card machine punch and punch your own designs this is what I do.
I have had hours of pleasure using my machine

Okay, so they're more than I expected but that's okay. What's a good model that can knit with thinner yarn and use punch cards? Is it impossible to knit a two color pattern without puchcards?

What about the Bond Incredible Sweater Machine?

Yes you can knit with two colours without punchcards. It will take more time, but the machine will be less expensive.

But forget this idea if you only want to knit one sweater and don't forget the fact that you'll have to learn how to knit with your machine. Some find that too difficult :-).

Then the best idea would be to save my money on the machine and maybe design the punchcards and pay someone to knit it on their machine... I just hate paying someone else to make something that isn't impossible to make myself... I feel like it's the opposite of the instructables way!

There's no reason why it couldn't be hand knitted with fine yarn. It might be easier to find someone to do that then designing punch cards for someone to machine knit.

You don't think that would be too hard? It looks like a pretty fine knit, and the pattern, while only two colors, seems annoyingly complicated. But I'm going to ask my friend's grandma for help. I've heard she's the master knitter...

A good model punch card knitting machine that can knit with very fine yarn is an Empisal - Knitmaster 324/329 punch card knitter, this machine is childs play very easy to operate.
As Ysabeau has said if you only want to knit one item then forget this idea,
If you are going to attempt to knit by hand using a fine yarn remember this is going to take a long time as fine yarns take longer to knit than a chunky yarn.
Getting back to the machine if you really want to buy a machine, the best bet is to look in newspapers for sellers who are going to immigrate then you will find a machine that is in good working order that also does not cost a fortune.

It took me two months to knit my last sweater with 3mm needles! Less time probably that this you'll need to find a machine, to learn how to work with it and to knit the sweater.

It is true that I really only want to knit one sweater-vest. However, I would consider making more and selling them but I'd have to find out there's a market for that.

I have also just discovered that the pattern I'd like to create is a 36x54 design. Would that even work with a punchcard?

I'm not worried about this taking months. I'll be editing lots of video next year and it would be a good project to pass the time while rendering!

Yes, the design of 36x54 will work on a punchcard machine, the width is determined by the amount of stitches used on the machine and not the width of the punchcard, the punchcard repeats the pattern it does not matter what the width of the item is.